When many people decide that they’re ready to take a trip to Niagara Falls the most logical way to get there is by car. It’s a destination that’s easily reached from most of the eastern seaboard of the United State and is an easy drive from most of eastern Canada as well. Plus, family road trips are always great experiences and allow you to take in the sights and sounds of the countryside.
However, when crossing an international border with your car, there are a few extra tasks that must be done to be certain you’re in compliance with each country’s auto insurance laws. While the requirements for the United States and Canada aren’t very different from each other these are a few things that you’ll need to know and need to put into motion early enough so your trip is not affected.
Both the United States and Canada require liability and comprehensive collision coverage. Also, in most cases your existing policy on your car in your home country will provide the level of coverage you need when you cross the border. It’s always best to check with your insurance company to be certain, and most car insurance companies in the United States will issue a special, temporary card that you’ll need while driving in Canada. Canadian authorities do require the actual card and copies or email printouts are not accepted so you will need to allow for the time it takes for your insurance card to arrive in the mail.
For Canadians driving into the United States the rules are very similar. Your Canadian auto policy is valid in the United States for the length of your stay but be sure to check that your policy won’t expire during the trip and check with your insurance agent to ascertain that everything is in order so you can avoid surprises down the road.
In addition to your passports and birth certificates for children younger than 16 years of age, you’ll also need to bring all of your insurance paperwork, valid driver’s license, and your car’s registration certificate. Both Canadian and United States authorities have the right to check these documents, especially if they may think the car is stolen. Always be polite and provide any documents requested.
For people traveling from countries other than the United States or Canada you may need an International Driving Permit, and some states require this of Canadian citizens. Check this website to see if you’ll need an IDP.
In Case of an Accident
In the unlikely case that you’re in an accident while driving in the United States or Canada follow the rules that you would in your own country. Move your vehicle out of the way of traffic if possible and call both the police and your insurance company. Ensure that no one is seriously injured and wait for the police to arrive. Once police reports become available your insurance company will take care of the rest.
Driving in Canada and the United States is a great way to experiences both sides of the Niagara region but be sure that your insurance needs are taken care of well before you leave. After that, relax and enjoy your trip of a lifetime.